Developing Plot

My stories originate from odd dreams.  With the exception of "The Cat Who Wanted to be a Reindeer", every story I've ever written came from a piece of or whole dream.  I really don't know where my crazy dreams come from - what I'm eating beforehand that induces these lunatic twists, but I'm thankful they keep coming.  (Harvest was a combination of a real-life experience, and bits and pieces of a weird dream.  The Maze -- currently in the works-- was all from one nightmarish dream.)

These dreams provide original and interesting ideas for a tale, but when I wake, I have to ask "why" it's happening and "who" it's all happening to, and "where" is it going?  I begin to look for a reason, a central idea and begin to build a story line around that.  This might take weeks as I analyze the dream, discuss it with friends, and write down ideas from those analyses.  This is where plot development begins.

Without a plot, (* a plan or scheme to accomplish a purpose. In literature, this is the arrangement of events to achieve an intended effect consisting of a series of carefully devised and interrelated actions that progresses through a struggle of opposing forces, called conflict, to a climax and a denouement) there is no story; just a series of moments or events that fail to entertain or add up to anything.  (*E-Notes: Literary Terms/Plot)

Suite 101 offers Five Fiction Writing Prompts for Plot for both amateur and established writers.  These five prompts can be used to practice writng plots or to help writers develop a plot for their already fleshed-out characters.  Sometimes following these prompts helps move the story line along after one's muse has thrown up her hands in frustration.  I've used these various prompts to help me when writing my stories and they do work.  They help offer a new perspective from that one point a writer may find herself stuck, and unable to see the way forward.

The five prompts from which to immerse your characters are:

  • Confrontation
  • Fish out of Water
  • Disaster Strikes
  • The Avenger
  • The Covetuous Competition
Confrontation and Disaster are my two favorites.  They seem to work well with science fiction/horror.  You, the writer, must use what works best for you and the type of story you're trying to tell.

A well-developed plot will draw in readers, but what holds them there will be the believability of the characters.

Next stop?  Character development. 


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